Native plants for the woodland edge

This table lists some native plants that will grow well at the edge of a copse or hedge. They thrive in partial shade, so the best situation is either east- or west-facing. If you have large enough overhanging trees to cast shade, south-facing should also be OK. Aim for a diverse range of plants with a good proportion of native species.

For maximum diversity of wildlife, the vegetation should grade down gradually from the tallest trees to grassland. If you have space, scatter a few shrubs along in front of the hedge, with perennial plants between and in front of them. Group the shrubs to create a wavy edge and maximise the length of the edge zone.

Height (cm) Sun Soil Flower time Flower colour
Betony Stachys officinalis 20-60 M 6-8 mauve
Bluebell Hyacinthus non-scripta 20-30 5-6 blue
Bugle Ajuga reptans 10-15 4-11 blue
Butcher's broom Ruscus aculeatus 40-60 1-4 white
Columbine Aquilegia vulgaris 60-90 5-7 violet
Devilsbit scabious Succisa pratensis 60-90 7-9 blue
Foxglove Digitalis purpurea 90-150 6-9 mauve
Ground ivy Glechoma hederacea 10-30 3-5 mauve
Herb bennet/Wood avens Geum urbanum 30-60 5-9 yellow
Herb robert Geranium robertianum 20-40 4-9 pink
Stinking iris Iris foetidissima 40-60 5-7 purple
Lesser celandine Ranunculus ficaria 10-20 3-5 yellow
Lords-and-ladies Arum maculatum 30-50 4-8 green
Lily-of-the-valley Convallaria majalis 10-20 5-6 white
Monkshood Aconitum napellus 60-90 M 5-9 violet
Perforate St John's Wort Hypericum perforatum 30-90 6-9 yellow
Primrose Primula vulgaris 10-15 3-6 yellow
Red campion Silene dioica 30-90 3-11 pink
Solomon's-seal Polygonatum multiflorum 30-80 5-6 white
Stinking hellebore Helleborus foetidus 20-40 C 1-5 green
Sweet cicely Myrrhis odorata 60-90 5-6 white
Common dog violet Viola riviniana 5-10 3-5 blue
Sweet violet Viola odorata 10-15 3-5, 8-9 violet/white
Water avens Geum rivale 45-60 M 4-9 pink
Wild daffodil Narcissus pseudonarcissus 20-25 3-4 yellow
Wood anemone Anemone nemorosa 15 3-4 white
Wood spurge Euphorbia amygdaloides 30-60 3-4 yellow
Wood sage Teucrium scorodonia 60-90 7-9 yellow
Wood vetch Vicia sylvatica 60-90 6-8 lilac
Woodruff Galium odoratum 20-30 4-6 white
Yellow archangel Lamiastrum galeobdolon 30-60 5-6 yellow
Sun or shade: = sun; = semi-shade; = shade
Soil: M = moist; C = chalky/alkaline